Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anti-depressants are truly God's gift to us!

Get connected to a mental health professional...NOW! I was very fortunate. On his own, Bill applied to Kaiser mental health very soon after the diagnosis. We got a fabulous psychologist - Sherry Batterson - I still keep in touch! She was a safe place for him to vent about what he was losing and how he was feeling. She gave him very concrete ideas on what he could do to manage his circumstances. Toward the end, she saw us both, primarily because I literally became his voice. She did a great job keeping us straight and helping us focus on what mattered most. I can't promise you a Sherry, but still strongly encourage both of you to find a psychologist.

Check with your PALS' psychologist, primary care physician or
clinic doc for a prescription for some type of anti-depressent. In my opinion...depression is a very normal part of ALS and the symptoms need to/can be managed. I believe that the docs from the ALS specialized clinics agree.

I would also strongly urge you to consider (and ASK for) them as well! I didn't think I needed them, but my gynocologist (during a routine girlie checkup) prescribed them for me. I started taking a low dose (20mg) of Prozac about 6-8 weeks after we got the diagnosis, got up to 40 mg about 6 months in and then took myself off about 8 months after Bill died. The meds give you the "headroom" to to deal with everything that's happening. I truly believe that the meds allowed me to keep my head and my sanity as we dealt with the freight-train pace of Bill's progression. Just so you know...Prozac has a 6-8 week "ramp-up" time, so sooner is better than later!

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